No one ever wants to cause a car accident. If you’re a socially responsible person, you never want to hit anyone with your vehicle, nor do you want to strike another car. If that occurs, you might feel bad about what happened, and that feeling can stay with you for quite a while afterward.
If you hit another car, person, cyclist, or object, you will have more than hurt feelings to worry about, though. You can expect to go through a few different steps if you want to perform your due diligence after you caused a car wreck.
Let’s talk about what you can expect if you’re in this situation.
First, Get Off the Road
If you cause a car accident, you’ll first need to get off the road. If you’re able to steer your vehicle to the shoulder or off the road entirely, then do so. Once you do that, you can put on your hazard lights, warning other cars that you’re in distress.
You can then check to see if you have any injuries. If you’ve hurt yourself, call 911 if you have a smartphone with you. If you seem to be okay, but you ascertain that the other driver or a passenger has injured themselves, you should call for an ambulance then as well.
Notify the Authorities
You should then notify the authorities. You can call 911 and explain what’s happening. Even if no one has injured themselves, you should have the police come to you.
The other driver might be irate because of what happened. If so, try to stay away from them until the police arrive. If the other driver threatens you with physical violence, you might get back in your car to create some distance between you.
Tell the Cops What Happened
When the police show up, you can tell them what occurred. They will ask for things like your name, driver’s license number, license plate number, and an account of the crash. You should tell them what happened and not embellish or lie.
They might ask you if you’ve had any alcoholic beverages or drugs that day. It’s best to tell the truth. If you attempt to deceive the police, you face much harsher penalties.
Call a Tow Truck
Once the police have a report of what happened, they will usually release you, enabling you to call a tow truck if you cannot drive your damaged vehicle away. You can use your smartphone to call a tow truck, or the police might be willing to call one for you.
When the tow truck comes, they can give you a lift back to your house or to the auto body shop, where they can look over your car and assess how bad the damage is. They may drop you off back at home, or you might have to call an Uber or a taxi.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Contacting your insurance company is the next thing you’ll need to do. You might feel certain that you caused the wreck, but it’s best not to say that when you relate the incident to your insurance provider. They will ask you various questions, and, like when you talked to the police, it’s best if you tell them the truth.
However, you can give them the basic facts without speculating about whose fault it was. That’s something that some people don’t realize. It’s best to withhold any thoughts you might have about whether you caused the crash or whether you’re even partly to blame.
Reach Out to a Lawyer
The next thing you’re more than likely going to want to do is to contact a lawyer. You might have to hire them to defend you if the other driver decides to take you to court. The time they’re most likely to do that is if your insurance policy does not cover all of their crash-related expenses.
For instance, maybe your insurance policy will pay for the other driver’s medical bills if you injured them, but it will not cover their mental anguish. This goes under the broad term “pain and suffering” that lawyers often use when they’re going after you in court after a car wreck.
Your lawyer can instruct you regarding how best to conduct yourself in a courtroom setting if it ever gets that far. They also might advise you to settle with the other driver if they feel like that might be in your best interest.
What Else Can You Expect?
Apart from these steps, you might wonder what else you can expect after you cause a car accident. The experience is never the same for any two people.
You might not feel any remorse after what happened. Maybe you simply made a poor driving choice that caused the wreck.
It could be, though, that you feel very guilty about what you did. If you drank alcohol before you drove and you injured or killed someone, that is something you will have to carry with you from that point forward.
In addition to possibly losing your license and having to pay a great deal of money in a civil trial, you might have to put in some community service hours. You may have to go to a drug or alcohol rehab program if you consumed alcohol or drugs before driving.
No two car wrecks are identical, and your experience afterward will not be either. You might be able to walk away relatively unscathed, and you can resume your life as though nothing happened.
Even if you were lucky enough not to hurt anyone seriously, though, it’s best if you try to learn from this experience. Even if you only caused a fender bender, next time, it could be a much deadlier accident.
Try to modify your behavior, regardless of how much damage you caused. Be more careful when you drive from that day forward. Driving is definitely a privilege, and it’s one that you should take seriously.